whenever september comes around: my season for rebirth

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ― Mark Twain

41 septembers ago i was born. 8 septembers ago i felt as if i was reborn. and this september? well, i feel as if i am being reborn once again.

is it possible to be reborn multiple times in a lifetime? some, even many, would disagree with me, saying that a person can only be born again once. but, that’s just sad, i think. i’m not sure i could handle knowing that i had been born again, or reborn ( i like that word so much better), and with that one rebirth i was done. what would be the point of the rest of my life? why even bother living if being reborn meant that i had acquired everything i needed to be a complete human being, that i had already reached enlightenment, so to speak.

no, that’s not how i see life. instead, i see it much more like a lifelong transformation. a long adventure, where the destination isn’t even really that relevant. it’s really all about the journey all along the way.

when you think of it, all of nature is a cycle of rebirth, life, death, and then rebirth once again. we’re wired for growth and transformation. it’s organic. natural. authentic.

if life is a journey, then multiple births must be possible. they just signify the milestones and growth points that we pass along our way. but, they signify very, very important ones.


in the background, as i have been doing my regular old blogging, enjoying summer, having adventures, and soaking up the people + moments of my life, i have also been doing some intense internal work.

it all began when i did 21 days of mantra meditation. like, i repeated out loud a different mantra every day for 30 minutes each day. it was powerful. there was no sitting quietly, meditating in silence. it was active, use my voice, feel the vibrations in my body, mantra-ing. and it was uncomfortable for one day. the rest of the days i felt energized, focused, and way more in touch with my soul than any other meditation series has ever given me.

i also have enjoyed a series of kundalini yoga passes that have been focused on the chakras. again, the movement, the focus, the hour-long yoga passes have inspired me + gotten me in touch with my soul more than ever before.

and i did all of these things at home. for free. by myself. i’ll leave you links to the 2 series (one on spotify + one a podcast) at the bottom of this post.


somehow, these active times of meditation, separated by a 3 week period of vacation time with my love, my brother + friends, have opened my understanding and my flow. they have been the closing moments of spirituality at this time of my life. my soul, my life, has naturally flowed from learning, listening, and discovering to living and doing.


my rebirth means entering a new phase of my life. the groundwork has all been laid. the source of my empowerment from within has been tapped. there is nothing left to do but to leap forward and live all that i have been learning.

september + rebirth

so, here i am at the beginning of another september. ready to celebrate another orbit around the sun. in awe that i’ve had the joy and honor to live yet another beautiful year filled with ups, down, mountain, valleys, beautiful sites, terrifying moments, confusions, and moments of bliss. and ready to embark on yet another year of circling the sun. of becoming a little more of who i am created to be.

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on this first day of september, however, i feel something different. a feel a kind of rebirth again. of making another great step into living an authentic life, of not discovering my soul, as i have been doing for the past 8 years, but of learning to live from my soul.

the other day, just before the full moon, a kindred spirit friend of mine, stacy, posted a link to a website that has some “wisdom readings”. kind of like a horoscope, i think. just for fun, i clicked on the link and this is the reading that i received:

beginnings and endings; shedding identity; lunar rhythms; cycles; fresh start; letting go; the only constant is change

The snake bites its own tail, creating a circle that cycles on forever. The end meets the beginning in a rhythm that never stops, is always spinning.

The Rebirth card beckons with a chance to make a fresh start. You need to let go of the old to welcome the new. But through it all you will still be you. The waves of life rise and fall. Go ahead: ride them all.

shut the front door! that could not have been any more spot on. for how i feel in life. for the upcoming celebration of my 41st birthday. for all of the new things that i am undertaking as autumn is beginning. i was totally blown away. and it was a complete affirmation of this feeling of being reborn, once again, in my life.

what comes next

autumn is practically here. september is here as of today. it is the season of beginnings. of gathering the fruit of our planting. of reaping what we have sown. of focusing and getting to work. of embracing the season of finding the joy and sacredness in everyday life, in ordinary things, in living authentically, true to ourselves.

8 years ago, right during my last big rebirth, i was in seminary. studying theology and spirituality. i explored all of the ways (from a christian perspective) that we “know” god. how god is revealed to us. i was studying to be a pastor/priest/minister (whatever word makes sense to you). but, i always knew that i would never actually do that.

my heart + soul challenged me to find my own path back then. to not simply take what i learned and use it for myself in my work, but to reach back into my education as a teacher and use all that i was learning to teach + inspire others. but that process of finding my path has taken a while.


back then i felt the call to take all of the religious bullshit that made no sense, and inspire others to see that it’s not about the religion, but about relationships. it’s often assumed that to be religious or spiritual means that one also is holy, above others, closed-minded, untouchable, perfect. that religion + spirituality actually have nothing to do with everyday life.

and i can understand how people feel and think that. religion has done a fabulous job of alienating, excluding, boring, putting up walls, creating rules, and pushing away real life. people get lost in empty rituals or old routines that mean nothing, instead of being given tools and ways of meeting the spiritual in every single little moment of life.

because it is possible, my friends., to live a meaningful, mindful, spiritual life. and, oh how beautiful it is when life is lived like that.

spirituality is not a box. it is freedom. and that, is what i intend to use this next part of my life teaching.

in seminary, i formulated my ideas and beliefs on how we can know that life is meant to be lived more deeply, how we are here to do more than exist, and how spirituality is actually a part of everyday life. the creative energies that connect us all (whether you call them god, magic, allah, tao, spirit, or anything else) move in and among us at all times. empowering + inspiring us, and teaching us to live life from our soul. and when we do that, then we are in creation with each other + the whole world, making a difference, spreading love + light.

i want to share + inspire others to find all of the ways to tap into our souls. all of the ways that energy and divine, holy, magical, sacred things show up, helping us to align our lives with our life’s purpose. inspiration is found + created in scriptures, traditions, experience, books, words, people, art, places, stories, music, nature, religions, science, mystery…


i believe that we are all searching for a deeper way to live life. and i have found a way of living with the mystery and magic – of learning to be, love, and live. how to follow my bliss. of course, my way is not the only way. in fact, my way is only my way for me. but, i am here to help inspire you and others to discover you own way, your own path, your own soul, your own truth.

the one truth that i do know, and i know it from a place that i cannot explain, is that we are all connected. that we are spiritual beings, called to live life as who we are created to be. and all of life is that beautiful journey of discovering + uncovering more of what’s in the depths of our soul, and how those depths are the places where the holy, divine energies of love and peace live.

my commitment

starting with this new month, with this new year of my life, in the midst of this new birth, i have committed myself to two different things which will help me work towards turning my dreams of writing, photography, education, blogging, and teaching into a business. a business that helps to guide and inspire others in finding their own bliss, in listening to their own souls, in living a mindful, intentional life filled with spirit and peace.

yoga mat sat nam rasaya

yesterday i began a year-long training called sat nam rasayan.  in sanskrit sat nam rasayan means “deep relaxation in the Divine Name” or “rise to oneself to the essence of True identity”.  it  is a meditative technique that focuses on the full ability to feel, thus leading to healing, or wholeness. it is a part of the study of kundalini yoga, something that i have practiced off and on for about 4 years now. this is an amazing opportunity to help me in working with myself + with others, in discovering our paths, our souls, and our unique purposes in life.

in october i will also begin a year-long course in life coach training. it will be an amazing year of learning all of the ins and outs of becoming an internationally certified life coach, or as i will say, spiritual coach.

so, in a year, i will be a certified spiritual coach with a certification in sat nam rasayan meditation as well. well on my way of beginning to practically answer my call to minister, guide, teach, and journey with others, as they discover their own souls.

 it is an amazing time in my life. and i am so incredibly blessed.

so. yeah. that was a lot of information. i may have simply written it down for myself. but, if you made it through and read it to the end, then i am eternally grateful for you caring enough to read my thoughts + words.

please know that i am here for you. i will listen to you, just as you have followed and read and listened to me. it’s a mutual give and take.

until next time, dear friends, may the spirit of love + peace fill your souls. may each day be a new experience of birth for you, as you become more + more the person that you were created to be. and may you be inspired by all that is around you, seeking the sacred + holy in the most ordinary of moments.

“The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born when we die – although it is the tragic fate of most individuals to die before they are born.” ― Erich FrommThe Sane Society

onwards + upwards! xoxo

21 day mantra meditation // click –> here
yoga vision wheels of life chakra series // click –> here

supermoon saturday: a chance to sit with your truth

if you haven’t noticed, there’s a full moon rising out your window tonight. ok. it’s not a fully, full moon. but, it’s 99% full. so, pretty much full. the actual full moon happens on the 29th, sometime early/late in the morning. hopefully, it’s clear wherever you are, so you can head outside or peek out your window and gaze at this big, beautiful, special moon.

it’s super special actually. because it’s a supermoon. and that actually is a thing.

a supermoon is when the moon is super close to the earth, at its closest, and therefore looks much larger than other times of the year. amazingly, we have a supermoon this month, next month, and in october. three in a row. now, that’s crazy talk. 

so, have you been feeling crazy lately? restless? emotional? tired? off balance? energized? inspired? confused?

i think i’ve covered all of them lately. with the ending of summer, the beginning of routines, and lots of plans in my mind, in addition to the pull of the need to think practically, i have been, once again, sleeping like a crazy person. up every single night at 3:30 am. sometimes i lay awake until the sun comes up. other times i just pet the cat and go straight back to sleep.

one thing is for sure, there is a ton of energy all around me and inside me. and what other reason than because it’s a supermoon, right? hehe. i mean, just think about all that energy and how the moon affects and changes the tides. surely it has to affect us too…

well, i believe that it does. and even if you don’t believe in any of that hippie dippy magical stuff, the moon does affect us. the energy is present in us, just as it is in the waves of the sea. and anytime mother nature does something special, it’s a great time to slow down and ponder life a little.

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this supermoon is a deep, intense one that can help me, and you, face these last 4 months of 2015. for the past 8 months life has been moving on for us. things have changed, we have changed. and right now, we have a chance to pause. like, when you’re on a roadtrip and need to get off at an exit for a rest stop. to refuel, reevaluate, and pull out that old map again.

that’s what this moon is urging us to do. to just pull over for a minute and reassess our journey so far. to make sure we are on the right road. headed where we want to be headed.

think back to the beginning of 2015. what were your dreams? what was your vision? how did you hope that this year would go? what steps have you taken in your 2015 journey so far? what have you seen, done, experienced as you sped down the 2015 highway?

now, think about this with me: does today’s reality match up with what you remember? it might not. and that’s ok. perhaps we have changed our course, or its been changed for us unexpectedly. perhaps we are precisely where we wanted to be, and it’s just to push onward.

whatever you discover, embrace it. and let yourself relax in the fact that, no matter what, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

don’t freak out, friends. if things don’t seem like you thought they would seem, it doesn’t mean that you are on the wrong track. it just means that with the intense energy of this moon, we can receive the courage to be truthful with ourselves. to really look at where we are and evaluate the path that we have chosen these past months.

and here’s the brave question put before us: are our heads + hearts in alignment with our dreams + goals?

if we feel that we are aligned, if we are living authentically to that which our souls call us to be, then right now as we gaze at the big moon in the sky, we may fall deeper in love with our lives and our journeys.

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this is exactly where i am right now. it actually frightens me to say that, but it’s true. somehow, the journey i have been on this year has led me to a place where i am embracing those things that i am called to be + do. and i am being + doing it. things are changing – and i’m freaked out and scared, but i know that it is right. it is time for me to grow and expand and trust.

however, if we have been neglecting our intuition and not following our soul’s purpose, then we will be feeling a bit of anxiety and turmoil right now. the moon is bringing all of this to light, with her intense power this weekend, but it’s just the push that we may need to make a few adjustments and changes and get back on the road that we know we want to travel on. that big ole moon is inspiring us to follow our hearts + our souls.

what this supermoon is giving us is a chance to sit with our truth. and if we still aren’t sure of that truth, which totally fine, by the way, then it is our opportunity to begin to discover it. and then to begin that journey of making our entire life all about living that truth.

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friends, i guarantee that we have the power we need to live our truth. we are already empowered with all that we need in order to do just that. it’s within us. and discovering it, setting it free, learning to live from our souls, well, that’s our life’s purpose. it’s all about learning to live more mindful, about being more aware, conscious, and alive.

and doesn’t that great big moon out there make you feel more alive?

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tonight and tomorrow night, let’s spend a few moments getting in touch with our inner power and wisdom. let’s use this weekend to help us see where we really are. to feel our truth and courageously step out on the next part of our journey. it’s time to use all that we know deep within our souls to make our life the life that we have always dreamed of. we’ve only got this one life, you know. so, we’d better make it count.

breathe deep. let the moon waves flow over you. stop for a minute and just be. remember, this supermoon is simply a rest stop on our life-long journey of transformation, discovery, exploration, love, freedom,  and peace.

in a few days, rested, refreshed, and re-energized, let’s get back on the road again. blasting our way through, empowered + inspired, embracing the life that we are truly called to live.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

guess who’s gonna be an ex-pat again?!

i’ve got some big big news to share with y’all! i’ve been dying to tell you, but sometimes you just have to wait to share what’s on your heart. it’s been hard to stay quiet about it, but you just gotta wait until everything falls into place. but, now the wait is over. now is the perfect time… finally! so, here goes!

lina and i are moving to uppsala, sweden!


ok. here’s how things went down.

my love + i began talking about our future (as we do all the time) and wondering what would come next. when we realized that it just might be possible for lina to begin working as a graphic designer way earlier than we anticipated. this happened months + months ago. suddenly, we found ourselves pursing this thought seriously, while at the same time, weighing all of the pros + cons of living in the states and living in sweden.

in any case, while we were pondering all of these pros and cons, including access to travel the world (waaaaay easier in sweden), amounst of salaries + freedom to live and grow our own business, vacation times, family rights, health care… all of the signs led us to know that, in order to live the life that we want, it is much more beneficial to live in sweden. at the same time, there is no place in sweden that feels exactly like asheville – a place where our hearts beat a little faster. still, the lifestyle in sweden – cozy, outdoorsy, simpler, intentional, and fika-filled! – is one that we love too! tough decision to know where to live? hell yeah.

but, things rolled on with lina and a potential job, and very recently she was offered a job as a graphic designer – doing exactly what she wants to do! amazing! i, of course, can write + take photos anywhere, so that’s exactly what i am going to do. once again, we have dreams + goals and we intend to do nothing less than listen to our souls and follow them.


it feels so amazing to know that we are moving back to sweden, and it feels so heartbreaking to know that we are leaving asheville behind. but, this is the life of an international married couple. a huge blessing + a bittersweet curse. however, with our work, we will be much more mobile (work + vacation times in sweden rock the socks off of american work + vacation times), so the opportunity for long-term travel will be a huge part of our sweden-based life. for instance, americans, we will be able to spend lots of time here + the goal is to buy a tiny place in and around asheville in the future.

this move feels very different than my last move to sweden 4 years ago. ii already have a permanent residence permit for sweden, so i am welcome to move back without any paperwork or anything, just as lina can move back. we just have to do a change of address at the government offices. how amazing is that? plus, i already have a place in society, with our family, friends, and the biggest of all… i speak swedish!

we are leaving asheville in less than two months, so there is not much time left before the big move. we are in the midst of juggling balancing life int he present moment here – enjoying every single thing and every single minute, and making all of the necessary preparations for another move across the ocean – whew. so, in the height of all of the cozy holiday season here in asheville, we are also getting moving quotes, looking for a place to live in uppsala, and terminating all of our business here. it’s freaking crazy. but, i think we thrive on this kind of stuff.

my heart is filled with excitement + sadness, joy + pain. but, i know, with all of my soul that this is right. and i cannot believe the opportunities that lay ahead for us both! be sure to follow along here… the next few months will be a big mix of holiday fun, moving preparations, and lots of reflections as we make this amazing transition.

yep. i’m gonna pack up my american things and head back out to be an ex-pat once again! let the adventures begin!

light + love

quotes to pack in your bag

remember my mediation monday post earlier this week? and how i told you that for this week, i’d be focusing on the native american idea of a vision quest? well, it turns out that my 3 week meditation series that i am doing (found here) is also focusing on learning what my desires and intentions are… then letting the universe guide me in making those visions + dreams come true. sooooo amazing.

so, what i thought i’d be doing this week was making lists, creating collages, gathering photos + quotes all about the things that i love. you know, practical things. i thought i’d be focusing on creating a picture of who i am + what is important to me/what i want out of life.

but, that hasn’t happened at all. instead, all i’ve done is just be. but, i’ve been aware and alert. and i’ve let my soul lead me in the decisions that i make. i’ve worked hard at being present in the moment, and all of this has become my vision quest this week so far.

fall autumn path maxwell

now, let me be clear: this vision quest that i am on, and that i am inviting you to ponder over too in your own life, is not about trying to figure out what i am supposed to do with my life next. that is a futile activity. because it’s not about doing at all. it is about being – being in contact with our souls + listening to those passions that bubble up from within. reading the signs. and then letting it go… surrendering the outcome of our dreams + wishes, trusting that we will know what to do next. because there is some doing involved – that is when the universe and our souls begin to manifest our dreams.

basically, it’s like this: we quiet our selves. listen to our souls. feel our passions. connect with our true, authentic selves. and then, have confidence that, come what may, we will be following our true path, living out our vision and our dreams – which makes a difference in our lives + the lives of others + and, in fact, the whole entire world. it really is that easy.

this vision quest, is simply a quest to discover and remain true to ourselves. and it is a quest that we can take over + over again in life, making sure that we stay connected to our souls.

so, to inspire us, as we walk on our own individual vision quest journeys, i’ve come across some quotes that speak to my soul and push me forward, giving me that kick in the ass that i need and reminding me to trust, trust, breathe, and trust.

and boy do i need reminding… but, why do i get so scared? why do i have a hard time trusting? i am pretty sure that it is because my dreams scare me… they seem crazy. impossible. selfish. but, you know what? anything is possible. and the potential for possibilities is unbelievably amazing when we are true to ourselves.

these quotes are ones to pack in our bags + carry with us as we journey on our vision quests, discovering our personal legends and letting our life unfold to helps reach our dreams… enjoy!

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” — Rumi
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” — Patanjali
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs
“The things you are passionate about are not random. They are your calling.” — Fabienne Fredrickson
“I think people who are creative are the luckiest people on earth. I know that there are no shortcuts, but you must keep your faith in something Greater than You, and keep doing what you love. Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.” — Judy Collins
“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word — excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” — Pearl S. Buck
“The people who make it to the top — whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos — are addicted to their calling … [they] are the ones who’d be doing whatever it is they love, even if they weren’t being paid.” — Quincy Jones
“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it. ” — Buddha

be yourself

love + light. xx


the magic of a camp wedding

well, friends, i did it. i had my first real ( = paid!) photography gig today. and it was totally amazing.

i spent my day shooting the wedding of a former co-worker, who hired me just after i posted my photos from ulrika and micke’s wedding in sweden this summer. today’s wedding was also outside, but it was at a camp – camp pinnacle in hendersonville, north carolina. about 45 minutes from asheville.

the setting was gorgeous. the festivities were festive. and the whole thing was relaxing, fun, and real. the bride and groom had rented out the camp for the entire weekend, so all of their friends and family could stay at the camp – in cabins or in tents – if they wanted. what a fabulous idea.

so, as i walked around, ran around, hunted photos, and took the traditional, expected wedding photos, all i could think about was how lucky i was. how lucky i am. and i was honored, totally honored, to be a part of this day – to witness two people share their love and commit their lives to each other with their friends & family.

i thought back to the days when i worked as a minister, and how i had the incredible privilege of being a part of very intimate, special moments in peoples’ lives: births, weddings, deaths, major life changes and decisions. it was humbling work.

today, i felt that exact same feeling. as i walked around, shooting the couple as they wiped the tears falling from their eyes and reciting their vows, i knew that i was witnessing a very special moment. and that is something i don’t take for granted. and to have the amazing honor to get to capture those moments with my camera, a front row seat (though i wasn’t sitting at all, of course) to the biggest day of their life, and a sneak peek into their families and the love that they share… i was truly humbled. down to my soul. magical.

the other thing that i felt today, as i wandered around the camp, taking candid shots and nature shots, preserving memories of their venue, was that i realized that i was born to do this. i should have been dong this forever. it felt soooooo right. i was somewhere back in the woods, among the trees, alone alone for a few minutes while i took some shots of the bonfire area (where the ceremony would be). in those moments in the woods – just me and my camera, i felt such deep peace, that i knew i was exactly where i was supposed to be. and this was exactly what i was supposed to be doing in that moment.

so, on the eve of the week of my 40th birthday, i cannot imagine any greater gift than feeling such deep peace as i felt today, a true sense of knowing who i am, and the opportunity to chase and follow and make my dreams come true. to spend this day photographing happiness and love… it was perfection.

and now, my friends, i am tired. exhausted. but, in an beautiful, wonderful way. so, i’ll bid you goodnight. and i’ll keep you posted on when the photos from lain a and jason’s wedding today will be up on my photography website. for now, here are a few sneak peeks from my iPhone today:

camp pinnacle adventure IMG_7600 camp pinnacle camp pinnacle camp pinnacle camp pinnacle swimming

camp pinnacle camp pinnacle camp pinnacle wedding bonfire IMG_7569 camp pinnacle camp pinnacle IMG_7562 cabins camp pinnacle wedding reception wedding prep wedding reception sunset camp pinnacle wedding

eeeeee!! i am so happy and excited! peace + love, my dears.

lina’s life anniversary ♥

i remember exactly what happened one year ago. in fact i wrote down every single moment in my journal. it was the day that my love decided to take her life back by admitting herself to the hospital for intense treatment of anorexia.

i could not have been prouder. and yet, i was terrified. nervous. sad. and so very scared.


just 2 years ago, lina was sent to the hospital – committed – because she was dying from this eating disorder that was slowly taking every bit of life from her. but, she somehow managed to fight through those (almost) 3 months in the hospital and came back to life some – though much of it remained a struggle.

last year, exactly one month from today, she and her counselors (and i) decided that it was time for her to go back to the hospital for more intense treatment. she had to get this under control and fight to make her dreams come true – which was to move to asheville and study graphic design. so, we packed her bags and headed over to check her in – knowing what lay ahead for us both. a long, hard fight for lina. and time all alone again for me. even though she did not want to do this, something inside of her was stronger than the disease. and she did it.

we knew that it had to be done. but, neither one of us wanted to be separated. it was so tough to admit her to the hospital, and then leave her there – though i saw her frequently and she was even able to sleep at home some near the end of her treatment. and i can’t even imagine what it was like for her – being stuck there to face her fears and figure out how to live. while she was there, i spent lots of time, sitting with her, watching her do puzzles, and just hanging out with her. but, she did all the work. i suppose i’ll never know the fight that she had to fight – and all that she had to face.

luckily, and amazingly, lina had lots of incredible professional people surrounding her and helping her through it all – challenging her and comforting her. and our dear friend, nicole, flew from ireland to be with me the first few days that lina was gone, so i wasn’t alone. i also relied heavily on this blog as a means to process and help me focus – both last year and two years ago.

it ended up being about two months of treatment in total (from april 12 – sometime in june), just before we moved to asheville, that lina stayed in the hospital. but, she was determined. she fought her demons. she had amazing help. and, with all of that help and pushing, she took her life back.


so, today i celebrate life – most specifically my love’s life. i cannot imagine living without her – and it came close to that at one point. but, my lina, my amazing lina, kick anorexia’s ass (though she still is recovering and fighting today – it is a lifelong process) and chose to live life. and i’m thinking… if my love can fight her way back to living her dream, and finding happiness and peace within herself, then anyone can do anything.

she is my inspiration. the love of my life. my best friend. and the whole world to me. i am so blessed to be able to share every single moment of living life with her. i’m not sure that i can actually express in words how she makes my life beautiful and meaningful. and i cannot begin to tell you how we have now dedicated our lives to celebrating every single little moment we encounter – i suppose as a way to celebrate how much we now understand about living life to the fullest.


for us, for me, life has become about those little moments that we find ourselves giggling. about enjoying the simplicity of just sitting together. of soaking up the sun, listening to the radio, riding with the windows down, sipping on a cold beer outside, sharing that first cup of coffee in the morning, dancing around our apartment… just regular, little, amazing moments with lina. that’s all i need to be truly happy.

what an incredible fight. what an amazing person. i am overwhelmed with love and admiration.

congratulations, baby! you have no idea how proud i am of you! xx

you can read lina’s thoughts and reflections on today on her blog…. click here.

40 days in a cathedral: week four.

i was gonna do a whole post on failure and my worries about a potential job getting in the way of my flexible lifestyle. basically, blah blah blah. poor me, poor me, poor me. poor almost 40 year old who has had a chance to chase her dreams and has honestly squandered some of her time – successfully making some dreams come true, but not working her ass off to make even larger dreams come true. all in all, a post about being sad that it’s time to get a “real” job to supplement the dream job. and then, i was going to berate myself for only spending one day at the cathedral last week.

but, then, our friend’s husband died.

in sweden, i worked with an amazing woman, the other minister at the church where i served, who soon became a confidante and a friend. last spring, she had to take a long time off of work because her husband had a bone marrow transplant. he had been in & out of the hospital the previous sixish months, with a disease that doctors couldn’t quite figure out. but, the bone marrow transplant was a hopeful answer and the promise of a new beginning. of course, he had to be isolated afterwards for many months as his immune system rebuilt itself. so, my colleague was home and at the hospital a lot. and in sweden, you are given lots of time of to care for a loved one. needless to say it was very tough for them for the past year and a half.


last year in sweden, at the same time my colleague’s husband was fighting for his life, my love was in the hospital fighting for her life – for the second spring in a row. i worked throughout her hospital stay, unlike my colleague, but i was able to juggle my schedule and be with her. however, her sickness was a bit different, and staying away while she worked on getting better was the best thing i could do. so, my colleague and i had a lot of worry and fear in common, as our loved ones fought for their lives, while we did all that we could to help them in any way possible. mostly, all we both could do was let the professionals do what they are supposed to do.

last year, my love came home from the hospital and kept recovering. since then, she has only gotten better and better, though some days i know it is still tough. however, she has battled the worst of the monster that is anorexia -and is thriving and living her dream now.

my friend’s husband battled and battled, but has been in and out of the hospital continuously, even after the transplant. unfortunately and devastatingly, he passed away this weekend.

two people. two diseases. two lives. two different outcomes.

my heart is heavy today, and i am reminded, once again, of the shortness and fragility of life. my love could have died. in fact, she almost did die. there were days and nights that i wondered if i was going to lose her. i feared facing life without her – the light of my life, my inspiration, and my everything. but, she survived. and today, we are happier that we have ever been. there are not enough words to express my gratitude.

our dear friend, my colleague, does not have the same ending as i do. and we mourn with her, from afar. i wish i could see her and hug her and offer her words of comfort, or even just my presence. but, an ocean separates us.

what i can do, though, in her honor and in memory of her husband, is to share this message that we all know, once again:


life is short. fleeting. and we only have one. so, why the hell would we spend any moments of this life complaining, feeling like a failure, being lazy, and/or giving up? why would we not spend every second doing the things that we love the most and being with the people that we love the most? why would we not chase every dream that ever crossed our minds? why would we not spend every single bit of our energy making the most of every single second of life – regardless of what others thought about us?

because, let’s face it friends, life could end at any time. and i want it to be said that i lived life to the fullest, that i made other people happy, that i inspired others, and that i wasn’t afraid of doing something new. i want to live from my soul, be adventurous, try new things, connect with people, and spread my own kind of light in this world. i want to feel, and laugh, and cry, and be excited.

i want to travel. and blog. and talk. and relax. and work. and make a difference. and enjoy my family. i want to eat good food, see beautiful art, experiences different cultures. i want to suck every little bit of life out of life – and live my life with a kind of contagious passion.


now, back to my cathedral commitment. it didn’t happen this week. i went and spent some time in silence on wednesday. and it was very peaceful. and i thought about each of you who have been a part of my daily prayers and meditations – there are even a few of you who have just popped into my head and i’ve added you to my list. so, while i have not been in the cathedral, my commitment to thinking about you has continued.

but, dear readers, i ask something of you this week… will you keep our friend and colleague and her family in your thoughts this week? i just want to send her all of the love and light and beautiful vibes that are possible – because she is an incredible, amazing, strong, and inspiring woman. but, even women like her have difficult times. we all do.

this week, as i spend my time thinking of you and sending out love to the far corners of the world, i ask you to join me. instead of rays of love this week, i envision a circle of love. i would be so humbly appreciative.

and, you know what? screw that sense of failure i had in the beginning of this post. screw my guilt and worry. i may have messed up, i may not have lived up to my expectations, but those days are over. today is today. and it’s a new day. and i have dreams to fulfill. so, my friends, it’s onward. upward. and forward.

namaste. xx

wednesday wisdom: rules of living # 5

ok. i’m a day late. but, you know. it happens. no biggie. and i know that you all will forgive me as lina and i were hanging out with our german friends who came for a visit. but, now we’ve said goodbye for a while and the rest of the week will be back to normal. sort of. lina’s on spring break, so we’ve got 4 days of no plans together – and that feels amazing.  well, friends, we’ve made it to week five of the 18 rules of living series already! thirteen weeks of wisdom to go. but let’s get right to this week’s tidbit of how to live according to the dalai lama:

18. judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

so, perhaps success is not measured by how much we acquire, but by how much we give up. and by giving up, i think that it is referring to sacrifices, losses, and passion. how much are we willing to lose in order to gain? you know, the good old belief that nothing comes without some hard work and dedication. and a successful person is someone who has fought for their dreams and never given up.

in my opinion, success has nothing to do with how much money i make or how many things i have. it is not about power, or even respect or authority or recognition. in fact, success isn’t about getting things at all… it is about how much we give away. and, don’t you agree that in giving we actually receive?

the more successful we are, the more we have learned, struggled, fought, and shared. so, in an effort to inspire each of us, i have found some great quotes on pinterest that remind us to chase our dreams, to make those dreams come true by working our asses off, and, ultimately, giving back to the world a little of what we have received.

d4b83b1a3b6cd33b2ddef0285665967f 0e3662202d7969cdaa0401c0208a0c94 195f18646b9065551f7f509d697ecd63 3cd5054246eb81eb130a31f2e30b1f23 7886a842edb7a5d033dcadddb113dbef 0e8103440b788edf5dc6ba9f2c27a2ed e0c7be071606776c9ace7103fcd38f60 28b4b44e2c7eb7e2392bfae030165df3

how do you define success? what makes up a successful life in your opinion?

love & peace. namaste.

hank bought a bus

now that i’m living in the usa again, i’m all about road trips. and camping. and the wild west. you know, embracing life by living it simply. i’ve been lucky enough to visit the western part of the states a few times, so i already know what’s out there… to a degree. i’ve sampled the west, you could say. i’ve actually driven to california twice – my honeymoon with lina was a cross-country trip!- and once to wyoming. of course, we stopped every place we could all along the way. i was yearning to see it all. and i still am. i want to see more.

don’t get me wrong, i truly love being an east coast girl. i love north carolina and the south, and i love the northeast too. but, the west, with those prairies and deserts and rugged mountains… oh, they take my breath away and make me feel like i am connected with something very wild and ancient and powerful.

so, i’m dreaming about when i get to head that way again. lina and I both are. we don’t have any plans yet, but we will at some point. however, more than just a quick trip out west, we’d love to take an extended trip one day and travel around the entire country for a year. that has always been a dream of ours, and who knows? one day it just may be something that lina and i do. get an rv. and live the simple life. meeting people all along the way for a whole year. writing and photographing and chronicling the entire journey. what a dream!

the other day, i ran across a guy who has done just that – well sort of. he wanted to take his master’s project for architecture school to a more practical level. so, he decided to find an old school bus and turn it into his home on wheels, a place that was comfortable, functional, and flexible. the finished product is amazing! and, then, it was time to travel!

so he and a friend headed out on a month long journey to live on the bus that he turned into a home, inspired by tiny house movement.

to read more about hank’s bus and his trip out west, check out his blog here. in the meantime, look at these amazing photos that he took (from his blog). they will inspire you, i promise.

900x313x130804_064242_JE_28102.jpg.pagespeed.ic.UrLlbUyMXk A view of the bus from near the back. bustour03.gif.pagespeed.ce.FAzPELYl8W Justin doing some photo editing on the road. Watching the kids play on the bus. 130731_202046_je_2650 Relaxing on the roof. Hank and Vince taking in the stunning coast of California. 130816_153554_je_3483 Hank and Ethan marvel at the sunset heading into Yosemite. 130823_165301_je_4124 The bus resting for the night in the Eastern Sierra Mountains. Ethan, Hank and Sam on top of the bus at dusk.

now, let me ask you this: do we really need so much space in which to live? can’t we simplify? and wouldn’t it be amazing to spend time traveling and exploring and adventuring and growing and learning and taking in all that is around us? wouldn’t it be amazing to live the life that we dream of living?

so why don’t we just do it?! why not? we’ve only got one life, you know. let’s fill our days, even our present days, with the things (and i don’t mean material things) and people and moments that we love.

peace & love. xx